February 17, 2010

Conflict in South Asia Is Focus of EPIIC Symposium

The five-day conference featuring political, military and humanitarian leaders from around the world runs February 17–21

Said T. Jawad, Afghanistan ambassador to the United States, will speak at the EPIIC Symposium. Photo: Courtesy of Afghanistan Embassy

The Institute for Global Leadership will host a five-day symposium from Feb. 17 to 21 to discuss the complex political, social and economic life of South Asia. A range of experts, from political leaders and scholars to military leaders, journalists and humanitarian aid leaders, will share their diverse and sometimes-competing perspectives on one of the world’s most promising and dangerous areas.

“South Asia: Conflict, Culture, Complexity and Change,” the 25th annual Norris and Margery Bendetson EPIIC International Symposium, will address the religious and cultural clashes that mark this eight-country region. Among the topics to be discussed are the area’s political and economic instability, poverty and natural disasters.

Two of the key participants are Said T. Jawad, Afghanistan ambassador to the United States, and Ian Martin, former special representative of the United Nations secretary general in Nepal. Joining them will be Sarah Chayes, a former NPR correspondent who founded the Arghand Cooperative, a venture that encourages local Afghan farmers to produce flowers, fruits and herbs instead of opium poppies. Chayes also served as special adviser to U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Other speakers include Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of high energy physics and chair of the physics department at Quaid-i-Azam University, in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is the author of Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality (Zed Books, 1991). Arif Jamal, who wrote Shadow War: The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir (Melville House, 2009), will speak as well.

The program will begin on Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. with a South Asia cultural evening. On Friday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. there will be a presentation titled “Buzkashi: Afghanistan’s Recurring Great Game.” (Buzkashi is a traditional team sport played on horseback in Afghanistan and Pakistan.) On Feb. 21 there will be discussions on the subjects “Corruption and Proliferation,” “Negotiating with Terrorists” and “The Possibilities of Hybrid Governance in Afghanistan.”

The symposium, which is organized by the Institute for Global Leadership’s Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship program, will be held in the Cabot Intercultural Center and in Pearson Hall on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus.

For more information, visit the symposium website or call 617-627-3314.

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